Making a successful business is more than just making an awesome product that your end users love. Let us look at some of the extreme challenges facing the ed-tech market today.
Schools are slow to adopt — in the curve of user adoption, schools tend to lump towards the “late adopters” side. Not good for startup sales.
Parents are difficult to reach. Every other math app out there — and there are *thousands* — claims to be as fun and engaging as ours. There are enough side-by-side playtests to tell you they’re flat out wrong, and can’t hold a candle to the game. But it doesn’t matter. To a parent looking at marketing material, it all seems the same. Standing out is an expensive proposition, one that requires investor backing (or possibly some luck and skill that we missed). But even if you get that part right, there’s even more bad news.
The market is tiny. Math apps in the US are valued at about $1.2 billion for parents and teachers. If you don’t know anything about market sizes, let’s take a look at some of the examples. Painting residential interiors is upwards of $50 billion. A single metal-scrapping company can be worth $1.2 billion alone — the industry is worth $500 billion globally. In other words, a $1.2 billion market size simply isn’t big enough for most investors to care.
There will continue to be small but innovative and powerful solutions in ed-tech. The market will continue to be saturated by giants fueled by government grants and philanthropy, which makes the gems that startups create harder to find. So the future of games in education is fuzzy, but if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find the pearls that will make a world of difference to the young learners that find them.